Rose, the Raptors’ top-paid player, has been in a funk all season, the depths of which were likely reached on Wednesday, when Rose had four fouls, three turnovers and nary a point, rebound or assist in seven minutes of court time during a 121-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
While there’s been plenty of poking and prodding going on, Rose (above) has kept his views about the Raptors’ direction either cryptic or private.
“I’ve just been doing a lot of praying and a lot of shutting up,” said Rose, who is averaging 13.3 points a game on 37-per-cent shooting, both well down from his marks last season.
Praying for the strength to shut up, he was asked?
“Yes,” he said. “Because when you’re not getting it done, there’s a lot of reasons.”
A 32-year-old with two years left on a contract that pays him roughly $32-million (all figures U.S.) this year and next, Rose sticks out like a thorn in the Raptors’ youth-driven rebuilding project.
But much as he would like things to change, and perhaps a change of scenery, he’s likely here for this season and the start of the next.
His primary value would be to a playoff-bound team, or at least a playoff-aspiring team, as a second-unit scorer. One destination that might fit the bill, for example, is the New York Knicks, who have heavily scouted the Raptors in the past two weeks.
The possibility of a trade involving Rose for the Knicks’ Anfernee Hardaway has been discussed in New York, according to a league source — and likely viewed wishfully in Toronto — but even Knicks president Isiah Thomas would have to give pause before making that deal.
Hardaway, who is essentially estranged from the club, has a maximum contract that will come off the books after this season, which explains the Raptors’ interest.
The question is: Would the Knicks be interested in paying Rose roughly $35-million next season — the $16.9-million owed on his contract for next year and the dollar-for-dollar penalty the Knicks would have to pay because their payroll would be over the luxury-tax threshold.
The answer is probably not.